Rangers' Francisco escapes felony charge

Updated: October 28, 2004, 7:27 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Texas Rangers reliever Frank Francisco will face a misdemeanor assault charge rather than a felony for breaking a woman's nose when he threw a chair into the stands during a game.

Frank Francisco was suspended for 15 games by Major League Baseball and still faces the possibility of a civil suit by the Buenos.

"He has no record. He threw a plastic chair. It's not a gun. It's not a knife," Alameda County Senior Deputy District Attorney Norbert Chu said Thursday, explaining his decision.

While Francisco still faces a maximum three years' probation and one year in county jail, if convicted, he escaped the three years in state prison connected to a felony conviction. A misdemeanor charge also means that Francisco does not have to appear in court for some proceedings, including the initial arraignment, Chu said.

Francisco threw the chair into the right-field box seats and hit two spectators in the head during a Rangers-Oakland Athletics game Sept. 13.

He hit Jennifer Bueno, whose husband, Craig, was part of a group of fans heckling the Rangers before the fracas. The couple's attorney, J. Gary William, said he expected such an outcome.

"It doesn't carry a state prison charge, but [the Buenos] are not out for blood. They feel the punishment should rest in the discretion of the prosecutors and the courts and the police," he said.

Francisco's attorney, Rick Minkoff, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Francisco was suspended for 15 games, which carries through the final game of the regular season. He still faces the possibility of a civil suit by the Buenos.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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